For some cancer patients, there may come a time in their journey when they will need to make an extraordinarily difficult choice: continue treatment or opt out in order to live and enjoy the time they have left as much as possible with those they love. The right answer is different for everyone. Familial opinions and dynamics can play an enormous role in deciding which path to take, but ultimately, it is up to the patient to decide how he or she wishes to fight the battle. If you are a patient making this decision, here are three factors to consider:
1. Is the treatment hurting more than it is helping?
Cancer as well as its treatments take a physical and mental toll on patients and those closest to them. The negative side effects from treatment may even become hard to distinguish from the symptoms it is supposed to control. Sometimes, remission is unlikely. In these cases, some patients elect to cease the course of their treatment to improve quality of life during their remaining time. This is a decision that requires careful consideration and input from your physician and loved ones.
2. Is your quality of life more important than your quantity of life?
In life you may not be able to add more time to your clock, but you can choose how you spend your time. While battling cancer the energy devoted to conquering the disease can take away from even the simplest pleasures of life that you experienced pre-diagnosis. The hobbies and activities you previously enjoyed may have taken a back seat to battling the disease. To revive this zeal for the interpersonal factors of life, many patients receive a healing of the soul by continuing life as they formerly did. That sense of normalcy can bring peace. by taking some of the power away from cancer so you can finish the race on your own terms.
3. Having peace when choosing.
Choosing to cease treatment is a difficult and personal consideration, one that will require council with your physician and careful reflection with loving support from family and friends. At some point, the uncomfortable reality of this quandary may be better broached by remembering that everything must eventually come to an end. There is “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4 NIV). You may be aided during this crucial time by concentrating focus and reflection on those connections that give your life true meaning, value and purpose. This focus of thought can evoke peaceful solace in the face of finality of life. Remember, you are essentially the same person you were before your diagnosis, and you can continue to be that person after discontinuing medical treatment.
Whatever the course, look for godly peace to carry you into the next chapter of your life and inform the decisions that follow.
- Should I Keep Fighting My Cancer? 3 Things to Consider - October 11, 2021